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Taverns get IM approval for outdoor customers

Council hears two requests, sets midnight curfew

A photo viewed by Iron Mountain City Council on Friday shows a section of downtown alley that will accommodate outdoor bar service for The Blind Pig 906.

IRON MOUNTAIN — Two downtown bars gained permission Friday to use city right-of-ways to offer outdoor service, following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order that bans indoor service in an effort to curb the coronavirus.

The city council’s action will allow patrons to be served outdoors at Sol Blu Lounge & Tap Room at 212 E. Ludington St. and The Blind Pig 906 at 407 S. Stephenson Ave.

Both establishments will have a midnight curfew.

Social distancing signs will be required and the city must be protected against liability claims.

“If they can do that, I don’t have a problem with this at all,” Mayor Dale Alessandrini said.

Sol Blu Lounge will take up two street parking spaces as well as the sidewalk in front of the business. The street area will be blocked by rails and concrete barriers.

Patrons will have access to indoor restrooms, but drinks will be delivered outside, said co-owner Lee Formolo. He added there are no plans for entertainment.

The Blind Pig 906 will use an alley behind the downtown bar, where a “Believe” mural covers the wall to the east. About 48 feet of the alley will be fenced off during business hours. The council placed no restrictions on operating hours, other than the midnight curfew.

In her application, Brittany Linsmeyer said picnic tables and plastic glassware were part of the bar’s plans. Live acoustic music may be featured but only until about 10 p.m., she told the council.

Council member Pam Maule mentioned the alley wall, part of the Power of Words Project headed by artist Mia Tavonatti.

“I don’t want people to start scratching into the mural,” she said.

Linsmeyer said the area will be monitored by a camera that can be viewed in the bar. A security camera is in place as well.

Effective Friday, a Whitmer executive order banned indoor bar service across the Upper Peninsula.

Under the governor’s COVID-19 order, establishments must close for indoor service if, in practice, they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from alcohol sales.

Jim Anderson can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 226, or janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.

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